A skillful dissection of true-crime podcast culture and those obsessed with it, this new novel has more twists and fakeouts than an episode of Serial ... The thriller genre relies heavily on plot, but despite boasting such a complicated one, If I Disappear never falls into the all-too-common trap of half-drawn characters and cardboard motivations ... Side characters are similarly rich ... In a world where the misery of others is often mined for entertainment — whether it be via podcasts or documentaries — If I Disappear throws into sharp relief how desensitized we can become when we treat real life like a game.
In this disquieting read, Brazier makes great use of setting, an isolated off-season campsite with plenty of room to bury a body or two. The first-person perspective, brimming with self-loathing and paranoia, only ups the sense of anxiety—although having the narration directed toward an unnamed 'you' is a sometimes annoying device. In addition, promising threads concerning societal pressures and our need for human connection are abandoned in favor of plot twists and a shock ending that doesn’t shock. Still, this is a good choice for true-crime fans and will also appeal to those who favor mysteries with a dark tone.
Sera could just walk away from this mixed-up bunch, but strangely, she does not. Her obsession with Rachel is too overwhelming, and the denouement, which should be spine-tingling, is just sad ... Brazier, who writes YA novels as Eliza Wass, debuts a fast-paced, slightly scary adult thriller that oozes with obsession and maladjustment yet does not meet the standard set by the likes of Ruth Ware, Gillian Flynn, or S.J. Paris.